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Life near or above deep sand beds or similar is a recipe for disaster! Firstly the supposedly helpful planktonic life including pods, all shed their shells, these shells are of silica and if there is no reasonable lighting available, then the only creature that could reduce this blocking substance, (being diatoms that make silicon from silica), will not reduce it. As with the sands on some beaches, this builds and fills in the spaces, where there was supposed to be anaerobic bacteria, oxidising nitrate to nitrogen. This area now produces Hydrogen sulphide and as we all know,this one is not conducive to display tank life. As your supposedly valuable planktonic life pumps out silica, so declines the nitrate oxidisers depth as they loose ground to the more toxic gas-producing bacteria below them as this mass moves upwards. There will always be some ground at the surface for aerobic oxidisers and some area below them for anaerobic bacteria, but as time goes on this is reduced a great deal, so now you have nitrate issues and don’t dare move any live rock! The next is algae. Caulerpa to name one variety of algae that some keep on,above or use with inadequate pre filtering letting particles get to their nitrate reducing areas. Any porus area will reduce nitrate and that includes inside live rock grit or rubble a sort of substrate, which is also a porus area. All of these can become blocked a lot or a little. The pics that follow are what I have seen many times in the past but with out pics it is hard to get any one t realise this goes on. So nearly three months ago I trimmed some of my algae partof the NWMS and put it out in the weather in a small plastic cage I made so the weather can affect it and tear all life out, but the wind could not blow it away or any birds or what ever move it, on the small sheds roof in my back yard. As you can see from fresh to over ten weeks the calcium carbonate make up of the algae is quite intense and able support two 20 cent pieces. One more substance to fill in the spaces in a substrate,live rock or deep sand bed that you need for nitrate oxidation.
Ok after a little cross that came out this week thought I would share this many breeders and keepers of africans recomend keeping 2 species from different names together. About a month ago I stripped a holding maingano female and one of the fry came out orange. Let me explain I keep maingaonoes and pulu pt zebras in the same tank both with plenty of males and females so there should be no reaosn for cross breeding.Up until this one fish there has been none. The reasons I keep these together is because as many of you know I am in the process of renovating my fish room to enable to keep every species in their own tanks. For those of you that don't know mainganoes are form the melanochromis genus and pulu pts from the psuedotropheus genus not to mention the colours pulu pts are all orange male and female and mains a blue striped males and females so they don't even look similar. Now this cross is an absolute georgeous fish it has the base colour of orange and a light blue hue overlay of striping like the mains. As a breeder I am one of the main players against cross bred or hybred fish and this took me by surprise. I have been breeding fish for 30 years and africans for 20 and thought I had seen it all until this little fish. The mouthful this fish came from is all pure strain mainganos none of the other fry are showing any changes from the true species. Mt theory on this is that both species were spawning at aprrox the same time and in the excitement the main female accidentally released one egg near the pulu points while they were breeding. Picked it up and then this little fish resulted. I will post a photo as soon as I can get one. So for those who are breeding or intend to breed let this be a lesson that even fish from seperate genuses and different colours will cross so if you intend to breed keep them in a single species tank.